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2014/09/29 / Shanan


If I wait any longer to start showing you at least snippets of our very happy basement renovation, it will inevitably take a full season of the old hem ‘n haw game: me throwing pillows and magazines around in an attempt to ‘style’ our lives and lamenting over the quality of my own photos.  So carpe diem and all that.

You may recall hearing about built-in bookshelf inspiration and wanting to paint the living room walls pink. Done and done (with more to see soon).  Up top is what the main wall looks like and below is the  somewhat-blank-slate-in-progress once our ceiling had been drywalled.  We decided to go with the full grey bookshelf treatment (the colour is the never-fail Chelsea Grey from Benjamin Moore) and Chris basically built the forms around the doorway to the mudroom and that lowered ceiling beam, which had to stay.  He did such an amazing job!

We mounted what I’ve been told is our incredibly modest-sized television into the unit and at the bottom there’s a row of closed shelving so we can hide art supplies, kid’s games, etc (just noticing that some of the doors are slightly ajar in the photo above… yeah, yeah).

the symmetric basement reno before

built-in bookshelf reno vintage peacock chair

The peacock chair came from a neighbour’s garage sale this summer and will probably be getting the full spray-paint treatment.  If I decide to show restraint it will be white… if not, a really bright yellow.  Only time and pregnancy hormones will tell.  We’ll also do a seat cushion but isn’t that little pillow beautiful?  Chris’ mom sewed it for us with fabric from an old skirt of mine (that I will never, ever, ever fit into again).  The rug is a hand-me-down from my parents and makes the room feel cozy.


I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have all our books out of boxes after literally almost three years.  Is it possible that we have even more art and conspiracy theory books than I remembered?

built-in bookshelf reno DIY grey west elm lamp

This was my old cream couch… it’s also been in storage more or less since just after Theo was born, so we’ll see how it fares with sticky fingers abound. But we’ll deal. The brass tripod lamp is new from West Elm.


Still-life with pretentious paperbacks and thrifted gold apple jar.

Rah rah sis boom bah – there’s more of the living room to show you, plus the budget bathroom, mudroom and laundry transformations. But I hear patience is a virtue… ?  What do you think so far?

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2014/09/24 / Shanan


Chris came across this article last week and I thought it was such a novel (and dead simple) idea: Pumpipumpe, a community project based in Switzerland, is offering free stickers to people to display on their mailboxes which show illustrations of household items they’re willing to lend out to neighbours.  These range from power tools to a pasta machine, snowshoes to ping-pong sets — in other words, the sorts of things that you store in your basement and probably only use once in a blue moon.

I can already think of a ton of stuff I’d be willing to get rid of lend out, like golf clubs or our sous-vide cooker or fabric steamer.  And surprise surprise, I have to say that I’m also a fan of the analog nature of the enterprise.  You’d think we would have gotten to know more of our neighbours here by now, but the truth is we have not.  Nothing like knocking on a (potential) stranger’s door to ask to borrow their disco ball.  Maybe they can join your party, too?

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2014/09/19 / Shanan


Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made it a point to pick up my camera again after what feels like too long of a hiatus.  I know that documenting one’s every move can seem like the most tedious thing in the world these days, but taking photos when I’m out and about is refreshing once again.  I’m viewing our everyday activities in a new, special light.  And, apparently I blinked and my daughter has become a full-fledged little girl.  When did that happen?  We spent some time being intrepid explorers in the backyard and this is what I captured of my little beauty…


Telling stories on her ‘mountain house’ in the ‘forest.’


The classic look of skepticism (my sister and I make this exact same face).




More and more and more stories.


“Isn’t it a beautiful day, Mum?” / “It’s a pretty nice temperature out here!” / “What’s yogurt made from?” / “Watch this!!” / “Why doesn’t Daddy wear pyjamas?”


Picking flowers, always.



Discovering milkweed pods and their contents.




Tumbles in the grass (or, the Nottawa version of Christina’s World ? Apologies to Andrew Wyeth <or not>).  Did I really have a hand in creating this imaginative, sensitive, joyous person? Unbelievable.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody.  We plan to hit up the Great Northern Exhibition in Collingwood to see the prize-winning animals and maybe have some pie. Hey, it works for us these days…

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2014/09/17 / Shanan


I’ll admit to feeling somewhat ambivalent about the whole Star Wars phenomenon (although I did see Return of the Jedi with my parents at the drive-in when I was about five, and it remains one of my more memorable movie-going experiences), yet I was instantly taken by Rodarte‘s elegant, weird, and fun Star Wars-inspired pieces from their Fall 2014 collection.  Now Paper mag has put together a photo shoot of the dresses, shot at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch with some of the film’s characters.  And, it’s too awesome not to share…





I may have just turned to the dark side. You can see the rest of the editorial here on Paper Mag’s website.  Photos by Todd Cole, fashion by Rodarte, courtesy of Paper mag.

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2014/09/15 / Shanan


Chris and I haven’t been out on a date in, oh, sixty years or so? I mean, give or take.  It was clearly time to bust out of that rut with some ye olde romantic country brunch action.


I recently had the pleasure of meeting lovely Miriam, who runs the Mad Maple Inn with her husband (he’s in the photo above!) near the town of Creemore.  It’s the most gorgeous little bed + breakfast spot and I was dying to try their food – which was both delicious and charming and exceeded all expectations.



We feasted on farm-fresh egg frittata, homemade sausage patties, yogurt with plum crumble parfait, just-pressed apple cider, mini scones with strawberry jam, potatoes sautéed in more butter than might be actually legal… I could go on.  Clearly we tucked in quicker than I could whip out my camera.


Everything was served on beautiful vintage dishware and wooden boards, with herbs and edible flowers and the whole nine yards.  We had the most perfect, relaxing meal.




Afterwards we took a little walk around the property to see their chickens and vegetable garden and wildflowers. Note that at this stage in the pregnancy I can only be shot from a distance of 100 yards (much like a wild game animal).




Mutual admiration society: I coveted the chicken’s hairdo’s while they checked out my vintage boots.  Caramel brown for fall, folks.


No really — how’s my hair?

Thank you, Miriam and Neil, for such a fantastic morning.  Marriage.  Saved.  Visit the Mad Maple Country Inn at their website and on Instagram.

xx Shanan